NDT or Non-Destructive Testing refers to the methods of inspection that allows the evaluation and collection of data about a system, material or component without altering it permanently. It ensures the maintenance of critical infrastructure to avoid catastrophic accidents.
Commercially, NDT methods are linked with typical industrial examinations like inspecting weak points in a boiler at an oil refinery. Whereas in the medical field, an ultrasound done by an expecting mother and an X-Ray or MRI taken to diagnose an injury are cases of NDT.
NDT doesn’t always require the usage of any particular tool. For eg: An inspector reviewing a pressure vessel with his naked eyes falls under NDT as he is not damaging the boiler.
THE IMPORTANCE OF NDT
NDT is increasingly becoming important because of many reasons. Some of them are:
- Safety: All NDT techniques, except radiographic testing, are harmless to human beings and hence it is considered the safest method
- Savings: As NDT doesn’t harm any material or object, it is more preferred than destructive testing.
- Efficiency: For any firm to perform efficiently, continuous and uninterrupted work is necessary, which is made possible by the quick evaluation of assets.
- Accuracy: When we consider the safety of the staff and the longevity of the equipment as prime concerns, NDT methods have been always precise.
WHERE IS NDT USED?
Even though every industry makes use of NDT, there are certain industries that have formalized processes for its use. They are:
- Oil & Gas
- Power Generation
Following are the methods used by inspectors to get access to locations at height.
- Drones: Drones are opted by inspectors to collect data remotely while keeping themselves at a safe distance.
- Scaffolding: Scaffolding is opted when the inspector himself has to collect the data by working at a height.
- Rope access: Rope Access is another option when the inspector himself has to collect the data by working at a height.
Common NDT Methods
In NDT, many techniques are being used for data collection which requires different types of tools, preparation, and training. While some of these techniques allow complete volumetric inspection, some others are only for surface inspection. Similarly, the success rate of certain NDT methods varies depending on the nature of the material they are used and some other techniques like the Magnetic Particle NDT could be applied only on certain materials that are only on those materials which can be magnetized.
MOST COMMONLY USED NDT TECHNIQUES
- Visual NDT (VT)
- Ultrasonic NDT (UT)
- Radiography NDT (RT)
- Eddy Current NDT (ET)
- Magnetic Particle NDT (MT)
- Acoustic Emission NDT (AE)
- Dye Penetrant NDT (PT)
- Leak Testing (LT)
WHAT’S NEW IN NDT?
Drones make NDT much safer. The primary use case for drones in NDT has been for the collection of visual data. But recently, in addition to cameras, several types of sensors have been attached to drones, including thermal, ultrasonic, magnetic, and radiographic sensors.
New sensors supporting NDT methods are constantly being developed for use with drones, allowing inspectors to collect an even wider variety of data without even touching an asset.
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